Tag Archives: Election Day

Wishing media could dial back Biden’s poll reporting

The media are having a field day reporting on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s spectacular poll ratings against Donald J. Trump Sr.

Biden is leading Trump by double digits, the media tell us. Biden is leading Trump in virtually all the critical “swing states,” they report. Biden might already have enough Electoral College votes in the bank to assure his election in November, the reporting continues.

I want the media to dial it back. Why? Because it is beginning to fill me with a sense of hope that might not hold up as we head down the stretch toward Election Day.

My memory is vivid on some things. One of those matters involves what the media reported at this stage of the 2016 campaign. They said Hillary Clinton would cruise to an easy election.

I bought that narrative four years ago. I was so confident that I attended an election-night watch party with my wife at some friends’ house in Amarillo. We went there expecting Hillary Clinton to make a victory speech upon getting the concession call from Donald Trump.

Uhh, it didn’t happen. My worst political nightmare came to pass on election night 2016.

I am acutely aware that Joe Biden doesn’t carry nearly the negative baggage that Clinton did against Trump. I also am aware that much of Trump’s message that sold against Clinton is hitting the deck with a thud against Biden.

We have an economy in collapse, the nation’s response to the pandemic has been disastrous. Trump is campaigning against his own record as president, if you allow me to parse the rhetoric he keeps using.

I know the media have a role to play and a job to do. Part of all that is to tell us what the polling is telling us about the race as it develops. It’s just making me nervous.

Hoping our national nightmare ends in four months

President Gerald Ford told us our “long national nightmare” ended the moment in August 1974 when his predecessor resigned from office and jetted off to oblivion.

I am hoping for a return of a similar moment when we get the ballots counted in November. My sincere hope is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets many more votes than Donald J. Trump Sr., that he wins a sufficient number of Electoral College votes to be elected president and that the incumbent will start packing up his belongings and jet off somewhere far away from the White House.

The process could get cumbersome if Trump decides to declare the election is “rigged” or that a foreign power “stole” it from the people of this country. The irony of such a declaration would be remarkable, to be sure, given what happened in 2016 when the Russians attacked our electoral system. Trump collected fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton but garnered enough electoral votes to become president.

It’s been a disastrous run ever since. Trump can boast, brag and bloviate all he wants about what a “fantastic” job he’s done. He hasn’t. He has made a mess of our international alliances, torched every possible norm associated with the presidency, alienated the nation from the rest of the world and behaved like the first-class boor we all knew he was when he declared his candidacy.

There’s far more at stake than just the presidency. I want to see the Senate change hands, from Republican to Democratic control. I want to see a newly elected president work with lawmakers of both parties, something Biden has been able to do while serving in the Senate and then for two terms as vice president.

You see, we have received a real-time lesson in how the presidency is far too big a responsibility for someone who requires on-the-job training. What’s more, that someone at least needs to understand the necessity of learning about history, about government and about the limitations of power inherent in the office he inherited. Donald Trump has no interest in any of that. None!

I want a return to good government. Not necessarily big government. Just a government that works.

I hope we get it in just a little less than four months from now. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I also hope that time between now and Election Day goes quickly. I am weary of the chaos.

Wanting to banish 2020 … be gone!

I am not one to wish away entire years.

Usually I take them as they come, slogging through the events as they transpire. I then wait for the ball to drop in Times Square and welcome the new year.

This year is vastly different. 2020 has been a serious downer, as in uber serious, man.

Right around the first month of the year we began getting word that some folks in China had been stricken by something called a “coronavirus.” Then … just like that it became a pandemic.

Donald John Trump, the “very stable genius” who runs the executive branch of our government, blew it off. It’ll disappear like a miracle, he said. Fifteen cases and — poof! — it’ll be gone. Well, it hasn’t just vanished. It has killed more than 115,000 Americans. Many more will die. The economy shut down, sending us into a recession. Trump resisted the seriousness of it. Then it dawned on him: Hey, we’d better do something; I mean, I’ve got a re-election campaign to run and those jobless numbers won’t look good as I campaign for another term.

And then came George Floyd’s death. The Minneapolis cops killed him after arresting him for trying to pass a counterfeit bill — allegedly. His death has ignited a firestorm of protest and recrimination. It’s still blazing out of control.

I want the year to end. First things first, though. We have this election coming up. I want Trump to be defeated by Joe Biden. I want POTUS gone from the White House. My preference would be that he escorted by the cops, maybe even the Marines who guard the White House.

I do have a serious concern about that election. It is that the coronavirus pandemic is going to frighten folks, keep them from voting. That plays in Trump’s wheelhouse. He proclaims a phony belief in “rampant voter fraud” if we vote by mail, which is his way of covering his a** against a big turnout that would boot his sorry backside out of office.

States should enact policies that enable voters to cast their ballots in a safe and secure manner. Texas isn’t likely to be one of them, as we are governed by Trumpkin Republicans who are faithful more to the man than to the Constitution they all swore to protect.

We’ll get through it. I just want the election to turn out the way I prefer. The rest of the year? I want it gone.

We vote in secret for a good reason

I guess it’s almost becoming a sort of parlor game.

We are watching and waiting for key Republicans to throw Donald Trump under the bus while declaring their intention to vote for Joe Biden this fall in the presidential election.

It’s futile, folks.

One of those Republicans, former President Bush, has said a recent New York Times story proclaiming he wouldn’t support his fellow Republican, Trump, is “totally made up.” He won’t engage in the political debate, but a spokesman for Bush said the former president hasn’t told anyone how he intends to vote this fall.

That is as it should be.

Colin Powell said he is voting for Biden. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee for president, is likely to cast Trump aside. It’s being reported that Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, is going to support her good friend Joe Biden in the fall.

So what? Does any of this matter? I say “no!” … with emphasis.

My hope is that when conscientious Republicans — be they officeholders or just plain folks — cast their ballots that they vote their conscience. Were I one of them I would be hard-pressed to vote for someone — even if we share the same party affiliation — who has denigrated the highest office in the land the way this clown has done.

And so, whether these public pronouncements — or denials of reported pronouncements — mean anything remains to be scene.

It does produce some tittering among the gossipers out there.

The founders got it so very right when they said we could vote in the privacy of a polling booth. No one has to know anything about the choices we make on Election Day. It’s a good way to protect citizens against political pressure or coercion.

We’ll keep playing the parlor game, though, for the next several months as the election draws near. It’s good to keep this in mind: Politicians have every right to change their mind once they walk into the polling booth.

Let’s not, then, place too much stock on what they say this far out.

Still prefer old-fashioned voting method, unless danger lurks

Readers of this blog know already that I prefer voting in person on Election Day, standing in a voting booth, selecting my candidates in secret.

That is how I would like to vote for president of the United States on Nov. 3. However, circumstances — and you know what they are — might force all of us to change the way we cast our ballots.

I am OK with that change, if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t sufficiently put down in time for Election Day.

A Texas judge has issued a ruling that greatly enhances absentee and mail-in voting in Texas. The ruling’s most direct impact will be on the July primary runoff contests that were pushed back from late May. That damn pandemic got in the way of our runoffs, too.

Looking ahead to the big day in November, it remains my fervent hope that federal election officials are seeking ways to allow all Americans the chance to vote by mail if circumstances demand it. And — of course — Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump is railing against voting by mail.

He has leveled a specious argument that is similar to what he alleged after the 2016 election, that mail-in voting invites illegal voting by individuals. Again, just as he always does, Trump has leveled a charge without a scintilla of evidence to back it up. Do you recall how he alleged that 5 million undocumented immigrants cast votes in California enabling Hillary Rodham Clinton to roll up her impressive popular vote margin in 2016 over Trump? He never produced a shred of proof for any of that.

He’s at it again, saying a system that has worked well in the states that use mail-in voting is corrupt and that the results aren’t to be believed.

There is ample, overwhelming evidence to suggest that “widespread voter fraud” in this country is a phony argument. Yes, some ballots are cast illegally, but they comprise a teeny-tiny fraction of all the ballots cast.

Donald Trump likely is going to face Joe Biden later this year. The pandemic might preclude an election that we’ve always known it, resulting in a nationwide mail-in balloting system. We need not reinvent the wheel here.

Election experts in several states can help develop a mail-in national election system that is secure, that can be protected against potential fraud.

I am one American who prefers the pageantry of Election Day. I want to be able to cast my ballot the way I always have done when voting for president. If we cannot do so safely, without endangering our health, then I am all in on a mail-in system.

We must not knuckle under to the demagogic trash spewed by a president who — and this only is just my view — is sounding like someone who is petrified at the result a mail-in presidential election would produce.

Long lines, long delays need to be fixed

They’re standing in long lines to vote in Texas and elsewhere, or so we are being told. That has to stop.

I’ve never quite understood why voting on Election Day has to be such an arduous task for so many Americans. County election officials ought to know roughly how many voters to expect; they ought to be able to assign enough polling place judges to work those elections; they ought to deploy enough voting machines to accept the ballots.

Media reports tell us of long lines in Harris County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Travis County. I live in Collin County, which has more than 1 million residents. Fortunately for my wife and me, we didn’t have to wait more than just a minute or two when we cast our ballots in our rural community.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Republicans run things in Texas and many Democrats accuse the state of deliberately making it difficult for Texans to vote; they call it “voter suppression.”

However, the long lines are occurring in states such as California and Virginia, where Democrats hold the power.

Whatever the case, and whichever party is in control, there needs to be legislation enacted at the state level to ensure that voters do not have to stand in line for hours on end just to do their civic duty and to perform this fundamental act of citizenship.

There go the early votes

Pete Buttigieg’s sudden, but not surprising, withdrawal from the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary race illustrates brightly the hazard of casting one’s vote early.

Texans have been casting early-vote ballots. The final day was Friday. Super Tuesday occurs in two days. Buttigieg remains on the ballot. He has suspended his campaign.

He no doubt will get a lot of votes when the ballots are counted Tuesday night. However, it just goes to show what many of us have said all along, which is that casting one’s votes early exposes us to last-minute surprises involving the candidate of our choice.

To be candid, I haven’t addressed specifically the notion of dropping out as one of those surprises; my concerns usually have centered on candidates’ behavior that sullies one’s vote for them.

I suppose, though, that my own decision to wait until Election Day to cast my ballot allows me to vote for candidates who are still in the hunt for the nation’s highest public office.

Beto on Texas vote turnout: It’s a conspiracy?

Readers of this blog know that I admire Beto O’Rourke, the former West Texas congressman who nearly got elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018.

However, I believe the young man is mistaken when he offers this reason — as published in this Twitter message — for the historically low voter turnout in Texas. He blames it on some sort of conspiracy by “those in power.”

Hmm. Here’s my take on it.

I believe Texans at times suffer from a case of “voter fatigue.” It’s also a bit of a cultural phenomenon that afflicts suppressed voter turnout here. The lowest percentage of turnouts occur in states that formerly comprised the Old Confederacy. Does that mean we care less about the health of our form of government that citizens who live in high-turnout states such as Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington? No, it doesn’t mean that all.

Texas’ Constitution establishes a lot of electoral offices. We vote for our entire slate of statewide constitutional offices every four years; those elections occur during those “midterm” years. We vote for municipal and school district offices every odd-numbered year. If we live in a community college district, we get to vote on boards of regents, too!

O’Rourke blames this lack of turnout on the ability of “those in power” to suppress voter participation. I believe that is an overly cynical view.

I remain a voting traditionalist. I prefer to vote on Election Day when I’ll be at home. I am no fan of vote by mail, which some states require; it’s been said that the high turnout in Oregon and Washington is a direct result of those states’ mail-voting provisions.

I would like to see Election Day turned into a national holiday. I would like to see state, local and federal governments conduct intensive public-service campaigns to encourage voter turnout.

As a voting junkie, I enjoy the prospect of standing in line at my polling place and waiting my turn to exercise my constitutional right of citizenship.

I just cannot buy into Beto’s belief that the lack of turnout in Texas is the result of some dark conspiracy.

What now? Well, Beto might run for president in 2020. Maybe he can channel the enthusiasm he generated in his near-miss loss for the U.S. Senate in Texas into a national wave. That would dispel any conspiratorial notion, correct?

Clear your throat, but first … be sure to vote!

You’ve heard it said, “Don’t bitch if you don’t vote.”

I’m going to keep bitching because I am going to vote later today.

My polling place is 8 minutes away by car. It’s at a school in Collin County. Will there be a long line? I don’t know. Nor does it matter. I’ve got time on my hands. I have nowhere to go today.

My post-election griping might take a little different turn. To be candid, I am getting a little weary of speaking so critically about Donald John Trump. I am running out of ways to say the same thing, which is that Trump is not fit to be president.

But … he is the president.

I want to concentrate more on issues that concern me. The world is in a perilous place because of climate change, the war on terror, the fight over nationalism vs. globalism, nuclear proliferation … those kinds of things. I won’t abandon completely my criticism of the president, but I want desperately to take this blog into another direction as we head into the second half of Donald Trump’s term as president.

My vote later today will give me license to speak out and to criticize the president of the United States.

How about you?

Ready for the end of this campaign season

The deluge of TV ads and the torrent of mass mailings filling up my mailbox have convinced me: I am ready for this midterm campaign season to end.

The TV ads broadcast in the Dallas/Fort Worth area tell us the same thing … over and over and over again.

For instance:

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions has “lost touch” with his constituents; his Democratic opponent Colin Allred is “all wrong” for the congressional district. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is under indictment and shouldn’t have his job as the state’s chief lawman; his foe, Justin Nelson, is “too liberal” for the state. GOP candidate Van Taylor is a “family man and a proud Marine” and should represent the Third Congressional District. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says “liberals want to turn Texas into California.” Beto O’Rourke blasts Ted Cruz’s absenteeism from the U.S. Senate; Cruz says O’Rourke favors “open borders” and we have “too much border security.”

I want to scream! Enough, man!

Wow! I don’t recall undergoing this deluge, this amazing volume of political advertising during my more than three decades in Texas. Not in Beaumont. Not in Amarillo. In Fairview? It never ends.

It’s the repetitive nature of it that I find annoying. It reminds of why I detest hearing the same musical commercial jingles all the time. After hearing the same silly songs over and over, I want to throw something at the TV.

Election Day is just around the corner. With apologies to my late mother — who often counseled me against wishing my life away — Election Day cannot get here soon enough.